Negotiating for Balance

Tired – overworked – emotionally and physically drained?  Are your aging parents challenged, or is your young child ill?  Is your partner out of work, or overworked? If any of these scenarios describe you, you may be in need of balance. If you know your skills, abilities, and performance record are strong and valued, you have a solid footing for negotiating flexible work arrangements.

What is negotiation? Practically, it’s making the other person an offer or proposal that he or she may find more attractive than the next best alternative. Some consider negotiation to be the art of making deals. It is certainly that, but it also involves educating the other party about merits of your offer or proposal or talents, skills, and actual and potential contributions. Negotiation is a key component of creating workplace balance and thus avoiding burnout. To negotiate successfully, you must do some advance planning. The process is simple, but each step is critical to the outcome.

  1. Be prepared. Follow the tips and understand the rationale; know what you want and understand what the other party wants.
  2. Open with your case; this demonstrates confidence. Then, listen actively.
  3. Support your case with facts.
  4. Explore areas of agreement and disagreement, and seek understanding and possibilities.
  5. Indicate your readiness to work together.
  6. Know your options.
  7. Advance to closure by confirming the details.
  8. Make it happen!
Tip Rationale
Know what you are willing to accept and be honest about your requirements You will be empowered in support of your interests.

Your listener will recognize your confidence level.

Do not disclose what you are willing to accept in terms of salary or conditions.  Have a deal-breaker in mind, i.e., lack of flexibility in hours. This will compromise your negotiating power.
Determine what the other party is willing to accept. It is better to know the alternatives up-front than to second-guess.
Be an active listener, like a student. Assume there are things about the situation that you don’t understand.

Let the other party know that you have heard and understood what has been said.

 

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Back on campus, and back to stress!

So you’ve arrived on campus to begin or continue your undergraduate studies! Perhaps you are a returning graduate student focused on completing your education and moving on with life! There is so much to do, and no time in which to get it done. The first few days can be hectic until you are settled into a routine. And, then what?   Suddenly what appeared to be an easy transition has become a life challenge, and you wonder how you will ever manage the process and get through each day you’re your mind intact.

Sound familiar? That is because college can be a challenging and stressful time for students, both grad and undergrad, and learning how to adapt while creating work/life balance is critical to one’s success and survival. And, it does not stop with work/life; what about academics and social activities? What about sports, family, and more?

I’ve heard students say that college life is like a tightrope; there are so many entities tugging at you for time and attention, and you may be overwhelmed. You have your academic workload, your growing social circle and all their activities, your friends and family back home, career and/or grad school decisions to make, your physical fitness to attain or maintain, work hours, and your spiritual well-being to nurture. Add roommate problems and boyfriend/girlfriend relationship issues, and now you know why you are over your head with concern.

How can you cope? Use these 5 simple tips for finding life balance in college, and begin to deal with the distractions that you would otherwise face:

  • Have realistic goals
  • Develop good study habits
  • Manage your time wisely
  • Try healthy eating
  • Exercise and learn when to say no, and when to let go!

Back on campus and back to stress…make an effort to remain stress-free and on-track this semester!

Mindset…the shift that ensures success

As an eimagesmployee, perhaps you punched a timeclock, participated in huddles, followed a routine, listened to/or gave orders, and assumed that the outcomes would be great. Unless you were a director, you probably were not concerned about the bottom line. And, perhaps as a new employee, you waited to be told what to do next.  Unlike employees who work for others, you are now an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are in charge of their successes and failures.  As an entrepreneur, it’s time to shift that mindset because regardless of the type of business you are in, you are the boss/the CEO/the brand.  Ask Sharon about the  7 simple steps that can shift your mindset and ensure your success.

 

What’s your life purpose?

During the thirty-five plus years that I have devoted to being a nurse, I have interviewed many older adults (over the age of 65) about what has brought meaning and purpose to their lives. The specialty of home health nursing gave me the time and experience I needed to research this topic. Combining their wisdom with my studies in the fields of adult development and counseling psychology as a nurse practitioner, I offer my findings in this chapter. I would ask the question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?”

Recurrent themes were woven throughout all of the interviews. Many patients suggested that they would be more relaxed in order to avoid stress as well as take better holistic care of themselves, attending to their bodies, minds, and spirits. Self-reflection was another important theme as was their emphasis on building relationships and developing positive memories from their lives.

After asking my elderly patients these reflective questions over the years, I concluded that purpose naturally resides within each person’s soul. I observed that all people have a desire to contribute in life, but sometimes get lost along the way. Every one of us wants to leave footprints and feel that our lives have made an impact on the world.

I have found that life purpose is not simply our work lives, but a combination of all aspects of our lives that makes them fulfilling. Life purpose is what gives meaning to our lives and a reason why we are here on earth. Each individual life has a natural reason for being. From birth to death, each of us is on a quest to discover that reason. Many never do, yet our world is incomplete until each person discovers their own divine purpose.

Some questions you may ask yourself while getting in touch with your life purpose are: What gives your life meaning; what do you notice as the main themes in your life, and what is your contribution meant to be during your lifetime? In short, it is time to define and describe your life’s purpose!

 

How difficult are the people in your workplace?

Difficult people generate difficult work settings; a workplace may seem like a battlefield with a conflict at every turn in the road or within each department. Conflict is inevitable, and it does not mean that it is time to seek another job. Instead, remember that it takes two to tango. So, own your part in the disagreement so that you may move on. Allow a cooling off period. I recall a time at a prominent medical school in the Chicago area when one of the clinical chairs was a source of constant conflict. I found it beneficial to type a response, print it out, lock it in my drawer, and shred it the following morning. My assistant found it beneficial to hang a soft dartboard behind her door. In the center, she placed a headshot of the offender. She actually threw darts, removing them before leaving her office. It was extreme, but it gave her great relief from an otherwise confrontational situation. And then, address the issue and apologize as appropriate. Time does heal wounds as you both move ahead.

 

What is your follow-up plan?

I recently had the privilege of presenting “The Fortune is in the Follow-Up” to attendees at the National Nurses in Business Association annual convention in Las Vegas.  Participants included nurse business owners as well as aspiring business owners, and each of them collected cards, names, and contacts.  imagesuzntzxmc

Chances are that you, too, make contacts at various professional meetings.  Chances are that they are stacked on your desk, or in a basket, awaiting some sort of follow-up.

How would you like to capture repeat and referral business?  From calling on former customers to checking in on new leads, it’s critical to stay in touch with people on a regular basis.  Yes, there are ways to keep in touch without becoming a pest, or that dreaded caller.  Weinstein started to build her speaking fortune when she realized the value of the follow-up.  Did you know that the simple act of following up and consistently staying in touch with clients, prospects and referral sources will improve sales performance, increase client retention and create loyalty?  In my session, I identified why we struggle with your follow-up practices and how to develop strategies to improve follow-up right now. The fortune is in the follow-up; it’s high time to learn how to reap those rewards! To learn more, contact me via twitter or email (@bisforbalance)

Stress Management…what does it look like?

From an unrealistic workload due to inadequate staffing and excessive paperwork; fluctuating schedules associated with changing shifts; mandatory overtime; floating without appropriate orientation; and moral and ethical dilemmas, nurses, first responders, police officers, and pilots see and feel it all.  Who is the picture of stress management? The answer is Sharon Weinstein, author of B is for Balance, 2nd edition…12 steps to creating balance at home and at work.

Additionally, being single, rearing young families, and/or caring for aging parents are common life circumstances with unique psychosocial and logistical challenges. Many professionals have sought flexible, virtual arrangements in pursuit of balanced personal lives. We all have personal and career goals. By visualizing those goals, we empower ourselves to achieve them. Taking small action steps toward our goals puts them within our reach.  How do you manage your stress? What small action steps have you taken?

Why is Sharon the ‘look’ of stress management? It’s simple – she put the B into Balance, and she works at it every single day!  Do you?

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